Night Shift Episode 1: Frayed Anatomies
I will let Jason Thompson hotly do the honor of introducing the pilot episode of General Hospital: Night Shift.
Night Shift is, of course, a hospital-based spinoff of a show named after a hospital that does not ever mention the hospital. The same characters are on both shows, but their situations on each might be totally different. Hypothetically, a show-hogging character could be in prison on one show and in the midst of the action on another. Because, you know, that's how the GH folks roll.
You might remember that we had a rollercoaster of emotions about the news: WTF? EEEE! WTF? I've finally decided that I am firmly in the EEEE! camp right now. Not solely because of rumors that the late night time slot gives them the opportunity for racier scenes. Mostly because of that, but not solely because of it.
Previously on the OG GH, Robin and Patrick were punished for (hotly) performing surgery on an uninsured patient and sentenced the night shift by the uptight and possibly Evil Dr. Ford, two random doctors were clumsily introduced to viewers, and three pink scrubbed (student?) nurses were sent to the night shift earlier by Epiphany for...something that I don't remember, because I can't stand listening to Epiphany. That leads us to...
More specifically, Patrick and Robin making out in the shower. Naked. God bless cable.
Cut to beepers beeping and the two of them running into the ER. Robin runs right into Billy Dee Williams, who gives her a knowing "Girl, you just had sex in the shower" look.
There is a flurry of ER related action: gurneys are pushed, people scramble around with clipboards and Epiphany wears a pair of hideous floral scrubs. The pink ladies look around nervously. An old lady waits to see the doctor she saw last time she was here; one of the pink ladies helpfully exposits that the old lady comes to the hospital every Saturday. There's nothing physically wrong with her. Could it be that she is lonely or attempting to get over a painful part of her past? I've never watched television before, so I am genuinely wondering.
The flurry continues outside. An unsavory man wears camouflage attire. A huge black SUV with tinted windows pulls into the parking lot. Max steps out and my good mood plummets. Don't you love how Max gets more screentime on GH related endeavors than the Quartermaines? Spinelli, obviously injured, is helped out of the car by an expressionless Jason. Well, I guess that's regular Jason, isn't it?
A pregnant lady (played by soap vet Alla Korot) walks into the parking lot (why did she park so far away? Maybe she's poor, and, in an effort to keep the poor folk away, Dr. Ford and Ms. Sneed restructured the parking system at GH?) and is nearly run over by an out of control ambulance for her trouble. Because, truly, nothing is more entertaining than seeing a pregnant woman in peril. Patrick hotly expresses annoyance with the antics of the EMTs, who are laughing themselves into a tizzy at this bout of Saturday night fun. I'm guessing they didn't realize they nearly ran over a pregnant lady, or maybe they did and they are just sadists. Patrick hotly notices that there is a gas leak on the ambulance and when he turns to hotly inform the rest of the GH crew, Unsavory camo man lights a cigarette. The ambulance explodes and Patrick is thrown onto the ground. I'm assuming that my response would have been stronger if I hadn't seen it in every single Night Shift promo for the past three months...
Credits! The theme is a revamped version of the GH theme. Chillingly, the song ends on a lingering shot of Jason staring blankly at something. WHAT THE HELL? Why can I not escape Steve Burton? Why is he the center of TWO hospital based shows?
Due to the trauma of seeing her hot boyfriend get knocked unconscious in the explosion, Robin is slightly hysterical which, again, we've seen in the promos eleventy times. Jason, in hero mode, runs towards the ambulance while his brave bodyguard cowers behind a garbage can. Okay, you guys, Max is seriously the worst bodyguard ever. He becomes the head of security at the Metro Court and it's held hostage an hour later, and now he hides while Jason runs into the fray. I'm sure he knows that, since Jason has god-like powers (as well as bullet-proof chemicals in his hair) Jason won't get hurt, but still. What kind of a mob bodyguard just ducks for cover like that? I don't understand the Port Charles mafia.
Jason sprints up to the ambulance and punches Unsavory in the face. He then pulls the burning gurney out of the ambulance because, apparently, the assorted medical professionals at the scene cannot be trusted to do their job. I mean, I guess the fact that nobody helps him proves his point, but still.
Back inside the ER, Patrick makes a bloody nose look hot. Doctors run around shouting lingo like "CT scan" and "C spine" that I've heard on ER and Grey's Anatomy. I don't know what any of them mean, but they sound very official and life saving.
Spinelli blathers while Jason stares ahead blankly. Jason, an expert when it comes to surviving gunshot wounds, tells him to keep his head back and his leg elevated before leaving to look for Max (I think? Did he ever actually find him, or was he going to look for someone else? I just have this hilarious image of Max continuing to hide outside, crying). Spinelli hilariously contorts himself in his chair and gets yelled at by Epiphany for his troubles. I'm sorry, I just can't. It's too painful for me to watch these two shtick heavy characters in a scene together. He's wacky and she's mean. Hilarious.
Epiphany assigns one of the pink ladies to Spinelli's case, and we get the twinkly fun music of "nerd gets crush on pretty nurse". In about 2.7 seconds, she gets anointed with a nickname "Angel of Mercy". How...sweet.
Jason runs around the ER expecting people to drop everything to answer his questions. Ms. Sneed, who is obviously evil, yells at him that they are busy and he needs to get out of their way. Unfamiliar with the concept of people questioning his authority, Jason stares blankly.
Luckily, Billy Dee Williams comes out of nowhere to fill Jason in. This is not the first or last time I will find Billy Dee Williams creepy in this episode.
(I suppose this is as good a time as any to make a confession: I have never seen the Star Wars movies. I know, I'm totally deprived and Amish and possibly a Communist/terrorist. I know. I am familiar with his work in Brian's Song and Lady Sings the Blues, though. While those are undoubtedly great, I can't help but feel like I am missing out on some of his awesomeness that stems from him playing Lando Calwhatever)
Mac and Cruz enter the hospital to ask questions about the exploding ambulance. You guys, this is way too weird for me--this is taking place in a hospital and now law enforcement is coming in to do their job. They go to Jason to interview him, since he was the last person to see the ambulance, and Jason blows them off, obviously disdainful about their lack of omniscience.
After stalking away from the police who were trying to do their jobs, Jason overhears that the woman who was in the ambulance has died. He stares blankly upon hearing this news.
In a hospital room, Patrick and Robin banter. He hotly tells her that she needs to go back to work because he loves her (swoon!) and doesn't need her to babysit him.
Leo, the crazy-haired doctor--and I'm sorry, he's not cool enough to have the name Leo. He's just not--treats Spinelli, who is afraid to get a shot. Jason sternly tells Spinelli to let the doctor do his job, while the Blonde Pink Lady gazes at Jason and asks who he is. Spinelli helpfully tells her that it's "Stone Cold". Blonde pink lady's name is Jolene, by the way, which Spinelli deems "pretty unique and melodious". You do realize that whenever I hear her name, I'm going to start doing my best Dolly Parton impression, right? Just so we're all on the same page.
Spinelli suggests that Jason get treated because his hands look barbecued. This leads Spinelli to ramble about how hungry he is, oblivious to the fact that Jason's heart is slowly breaking due to the fact that he could not save the lady on the ambulance. Or maybe he's just used to Jason being heartbroken about not being able to be a part of his son's life and doesn't question his sadness anymore. Or maybe he just assumes that Jason is sad that his hair is back to being uber hideous.
Scenes between Dr. Ford and Epiphany are even worse than when she's onscreen with Spinelli. It's nonstop wooden line readings and self righteousness. And then Epiphany busts out the most WTF? statement I've heard all year:
I'm a nurse. I don't tell doctors what to do. I put up with them
YOU ARE A LYING LIAR WHO LIES!
Unsavory comes into the scene, jonesing for a prescription. When he can't get one, he screams at Epiphany, who isn't having any of it.
The little old lady who is apparently not really sick or hurt does some needlepoint and makes small talk with Alla Korot, who looks bored. HOLY CRAP, she's sewing something with a horrific clown on it. WHY? When will people stop pretending that clowns are kind?
Leo and Billy Dee Williams are in an elevator together. Billy Dee stares at him and suavely presses the elevator button. Um, none of that is a euphemism for anything dirty.
The pink ladies are nervous some more. I wish this show weren't so subtle sometimes! I really had no idea that they were nervous about their new jobs from the five previous scenes where they mentioned how nervous they were. They gossip about Robin and Patrick, and it's mentioned that multiple doctors want to "mentor" Leyla. That, I'm pretty sure, is a euphemism for something dirty.
Now, this part of the show was really weird. Coop and Mac are in the hospital, and then Mac goes over to Robin to make sure that she's okay. They were interacting as if they were related or something. It was so strange! Coop flirts with Maxie, whose hair is in an adorable bun. Maxie suggests that they go off somewhere while Mac is occupied with Robin
MAXIE: I'd like to get a closer look at your handcuffs
The pink lady named Leyla goes to Patrick's room to bring him his test results. He greets her as "Lovely Leyla". You guys know Robin's going to come in at any second, right? Patrick hotly banters with Leyla about the song "Layla" and what she finds charming and--shock!--Robin appears. She's obviously displeased. I don't know if you've seen this before, but sometimes, Patrick hotly flirts and Robin gets jealous. It hardly ever happens, so I don't blame you if you missed it. Patrick lectures Robin about how she's being territorial. They bicker for a little while. Patrick hotly tells her that he's with her because he wants to be, and they complain about the entire night shift debacle, claiming that the hospital has no right to punish them for helping people. Dr. Ford enters the room at that exact moment and sneers, "Welcome to the night shift". If he had tacked on a "bitch" at the end, he would have earned some points with me.
Kelly, Lainey and Robin recap Robin's freakout about Leyla. Robin claims to have no integrity. Lainey reminds us that Patrick is a chronic flirt. Robin repeats that she has no integrity. The entire scene was eerily reminiscent of Grey's Anatomy and the way Ellen Pompeo reads lines in particular. It was really weird.
Upstairs, Patrick hotly sits in a gurney, abandoned by an orderly. He's obviously grumpy about being stuck in this situation and not operating on people.
Back downstairs, Spinelli, Jason and "the fair Jolene" are still doing their thing. Jolene stares at Jason, while Spinelli babbles. And babbles. And babbles some more. Jolene informs them that the cops will be there soon to discuss the incident with them, as it's hospital procedure to notify the police when a patient is admitted with a gunshot wound. Jason's facial expression goes from blank to "Oh, shit..."
Dr. Ford and Ms. Sneed have an angry conversation. I wonder which one of them hates the human race more.
Unsavory rummages around looking for drugs and Lainey walks in for a session. Ooooh, this should be good! He tells her that he did two tours in Iraq and has PTSD. Lainey is visibly happy, all "Oh, that's a relief, I don't have to make a diagnosis! All right!" He angrily asks for a prescription. She tells him that she wouldn't be much of a doctor if she just gave him drugs and no other treatment. Girl, you're just not much of a doctor, period.
Patrick is still hotly sitting on a gurney when he hears Billy Dee Williams (Okay, we don't know it was him, but it so was) singing "When the Saints Go Marching In". Patrick is hotly amused. He gets up and wanders down the hall in a hospital gown to see where the singing is coming from. The voice of a harridan screeches "Get your scrawny butt back in the gurney". Oh, Epiphany. Must you take all of my joy from me?
In a tremendously awkward scene, Robin apologizes to Leyla for her freakout. Leyla cordially accepts and tells Robin that one of Kelly's patients is waiting to be treated. Kelly was presumably doing sonograms on pillows and could not treat the patient herself. Robin is directly to Stacy Sloan, who is the pregnant lady getting her ear talked off by the clown loving old lady. Poor Stace had a rough night, what with the almost being crushed by an ambulance and now this lady's chitchat.
In the mob related land, Spinelli wonders if it is illegal to shoot yourself. He adorably says that he's been practicing using a gun in the arcade. Jason is baffled by that admission, and is unusually supportive when Spinelli freaks that he can't get arrested. "My granny would kill me". Awww! That was completely adorable. I think I just like when people say "granny". Detective Rodriguez enters, looking as dapper as ever, to take Spinelli's statement. Spinelli, predictably, launches into a monologue where every other word is an inane nickname. Detective Rodriguez doesn't care and says that he will have to arrest Spinelli for illegal possession of a handgun and reckless endangerment. Jason, furious that a police officer is doing his job, angrily interjects, "It was an accident" before falling on his sword by claiming that he shot Spinelli. Oh, that Jason! What a kind, good-hearted hired killer.
Robin treats Stacy, who is okay aside from a skinned knee. It is revealed that she is HIV positive. Robin mentions that "It never gets any easier telling people that".
In another "Really, if you like Grey's Anatomy, you'll love Night Shift! Except instead of Meredith, Cristina and Izzie, we have Regina, Leyla and Jolene. Watch, it's awesome!" scene, Regina and Leyla sit on a gurney and talk. Leyla snarks on Robin, because she's a bitch and is going to be Robin's main rival on the show. Awesome. Jolene joins them and jumps right into the Robin/Patrick discussion, claiming that Robin is possessive. Leyla says that Patrick is sexy. Which, duh.
Patrick is back in a hospital bed hotly reading a magazine. Billy Dee enters with a mop; he was sent to clean the room because the previous patient was sent to the morgue. Wacky hijinks! Patrick hotly marvels at the fact that he was sentenced to night shift and on his first night in the ER, an ambulance exploded. Billy Dee tells him that he might have gotten lucky. Patrick hotly ponders that.
Stacy and Robin bond over the amount of pills they need to take. Robin mentions the cocktail she started taking ten years ago, which felt like 100 pills a day. Stacy has been HIV positive for 5 years. It took a long time for her to adjust, and people think she's crazy to have a baby. They very sweetly bond about being on a soapbox and agree that HIV shouldn't keep anyone from having a child. I wonder if this will lead to a story about Robin wanting a baby?! Hmm...
Unsavory recaps the beginning of the episode for Lainey. All he wanted was a cigarette, and then there was an explosion and he thought he was back in combat. Lainey, being Lainey, is unhelpful. She mentions that he needs to have a few more sessions with her before he can get drugs. He's pissed and says Lainey is wasting his time. Dude, for real! I completely agree!
Robin and Patrick! He hotly tells her about the mysterious singing that he heard. Robin "casually" mentions Stacy's HIV and how inspiring it is to see an HIV positive woman who is having a baby. Patrick hotly listens and, at the end of the scene, exhales and makes a hilarious "WTF?" face, no doubt confused by the baby rabies so prevalent throughout Port Charles.
Jason and Cruz discuss the events that led to Spinelli's injury. Cruz expresses doubts that Jason would be cleaning one gun and carrying another, but HELLO--he's a hitman. That's what they do. Spinelli is uncomfortable that Jason is taking the blame for him, but Jason says Spinelli is his responsibility. That was...almost sweet.
Regina does some research about the victim of the ambulance explosion. It turns out that her last name was Barrett. Holy fuck. If this show is going where I think it's going, I will be speechless with rage. More on that later.
Ms. Sneed storms through the hospital being a bitch to everyone she sees. Outside of a supply closet, she hears what are obviously sex noises. She opens the door to see Coop having sex with a handcuffed Maxie. Hee! Ms. Sneed screams and falls and a pantless (!!!) Coop runs over to see that she's okay while she screams for help.
Of course Mac and Dr. Ford are the ones to hear her. As Coop rushes to put his pants on, Mac angrily wonders, "What the hell is going on here?" as he stares at the handcuffed Maxie. She responds, "Hi Daddy". Oh, awkward. So, so awkward.
Jason sits on a hospital bed and sighs deeply, no doubt feeling the pressure of being the world's most perfect man. He examines his burned hands when Robin comes in. I would never, in a million years, want Jason and Robin back together, but their chemistry together is still really great. It's easy and sweet, and Steve Burton and Kimberly McCullough really work well with each other.
Patrick hotly yells at Dr. Ford for being a douchebag. I think the show would be much better if every character got to yell at Dr. Ford for being a douchebag.
Awkward! Mac waits for Maxie to get extricated from her handcuffs. She quickly tells him that it was just sex and that it was her idea, not Coop's, and that Coop shouldn't be punished, but that she should.
In a truly hilarious cut, we see Maxie and Coop emptying bed pans. Hee!
Robin bandages Jason's damaged hands as they talk. Kelly interrupts to see if Stacy was okay, and after she leaves, Robin explains the significance of Stacy's situation to Jason, and he reacts like a normal human being: he actually changes facial expressions and seems to understand what Stacy means to Robin. I am completely weirded out, you guys: Steve Burton has not been engaged in a scene like this in forever. I know that the big wars are between the Jason/Sam camp and the Jason/Liz fans and, again, I have ZERO desire for a Robin/Jason retread, but his chemistry with Kimberly McCullough is simply in a different hemisphere than his chemistry with Kelly Monaco and Becky Herbst. His eyes had actual emotion, he reacted to what she was saying and seemed to enjoy spending time with her. SO WEIRD.
In the locker room, Kelly and Lainey talk about Jason and Robin's past and the heart to heart that Kelly walked in on. Patrick hotly and shirtlessly overhears and ponders/broods.
Jason tells Robin that he accidentally shot Spinelli in the foot. She replies, "Shooting someone on accident? That's a first for you." Pleasepleaseplease tell me that I misheard that and she actually said "by accident".
The clown sewing old lady politely reminds Robin that she wants a doctor. Robin snaps at her and walks away. Jason sits with the old lady, who starts chatting with him and gestures wildly with the clown needlepoint. "You're the one who pulled her out, aren't you?" See, in just five seconds, she realized that Jason was the biggest hero to ever hero. Maybe she was blinded by his halo. The old lady yammers on about how the woman in the ambulance died alone, with no family or friends, and asks, "How well do you know that doctor? She's very fond of you. She's a very caring person, you can tell by looking at her". Jason responds with a blank stare. Aw, that's the Steve Burton I know and--that's the Steve Burton I know.
Patrick is hotly back to work, and Robin lectures him on how that's dangerous. They're both very crabby. And...scene.
Old lady is busy informing Jason that she has no grandchildren. She makes her hideous clown tapestries for preschools for underprivileged children. I know she means well, but no child needs to be exposed to the horror of clowns! She asks Jason if he has children; "No--not living with me". Oh, come ON. I am so sick of Jason's anguish! Old lady is sorry. She stands up to give him the clown that would be perfect for a newborn (hey, what a coincidence! Jason's son IS a newborn! Crazy!) and collapses. Jason, of course, catches her. Robin runs over and sees that she's bleeding, and briskly orders all sorts of doctor things, like units of O-neg and a trauma team. Jason, falling down on the hero job, admits that he didn't get her name. For shame, Jason. For shame. A gurney comes to take her to the OR, and Jason watches, concerned, knowing that he could do more for her than the doctors possibly could. He picks up her clown tapestry as sad music plays.
Robin goes up to the roof and sighs. Patrick hotly joins her. They make smalltalk about surgeries, and Robin tells Patrick that she feels guilty for ignoring the old lady's request for a doctor. She then segues into a weird discussion about how Patrick should quit medicine and open a coffee house so that she can have a latte and a cookie waiting for her when she gets home.
Inside, Regina is still researching _________ Barrett and making no progress. We learn that ______ Barrett is petite, was going to the hospital because of food poisoning and had been in Rome. Weird, wasn't there another petite woman named _________ Barrett on this show who went to Europe...???
Unsavory lurks around the hospital looking for drugs as Detective Rodriguez arrests Jason for reckless endangerment. Wow, Jason is really busy these days, getting arrested while he's in prison (sorry--that's going to take some getting used to).
Never one to stop with the holiness, Jason asks Leyla to make sure that the old lady gets her needlepoint back. Most thoughtful and wonderful murderer ever!
Regina heads to the morgue to give information on __________ Barrett. SHOCKINGLY, _______ Barrett lifts her arm! She's not dead! Just severely burned! SHOCKING!
Okay. Can I rant for a second? Thanks. This plot development has me fuming. I'm assuming that _________ Barrett is going to turn out to be Brenda, and with her disfiguring burns, she's going to need skin grafts and plastic surgery, which will allow them to recast the role. Which--no. Just no. Brenda is my favorite GH character of all time, and 99% of that was because of Vanessa Marcil. On paper, Brenda isn't extraordinary. All of her awesomeness came from what Vanessa Marcil brought to the role. Recasting her would be insane. INSANE. You know, there would be no need for a Brenda recast if the powers that be gave Vanessa Marcil the schedule that she wanted when she was back a couple of years ago, but since they couldn't be bothered to treat her fairly, she didn't stick around and now we're stuck with the horrible possibility that they are going to recast her role. UGH. This show!
Ahem. If it turns out to be another Barrett woman, please ignore the deluded ramblings above. Thank you in advance.
Now we see a montage over the song "Night Shift". Patrick and Robin hug on the rooftop. Jolene stares adoringly at Jason, while Spinelli gazes at her. Unsavory continues his search for drugs. Doctors rush ________ Barrett up from the morgue to operate on her. Leyla gets on an elevator with Billy Dee Williams, who stares at her. Okay, the hell? What is with him just staring at everyone? That's creepy. When Epiphany leaves the nurse's station, Unsavory steals a bottle of pills and runs out. Outside, Rodriguez puts Jason in a cop car. Up on the roof, Patrick and Robin are kissing and are far too cute to adequately be described in words.
So, my official diagnosis (hee! Get it? Diagnosis? Because it's a show about a hospital? Ha...ha?): REALLY good. It had the potential to be a complete and utter trainwreck. And while trainwrecks are entertaining in their own way, I really wanted this to work out for Jason Thompson and Kimberly McCullough, so I am pleased as punch that the show was good.
I do, of course, have some criticism, because that's the way I am (bitchy).
Overall, though, I enjoyed it. The pacing was great, it was intentionally funny and even Jason managed not to bug. If you missed it, I'd suggest checking out the reruns on SoapNet, even if it's just to fast forward to Coop with no pants on...